A law firm sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over its treatment of struggling homeowners may be the first to contest the validity of Richard Cordray's status as the agency's director after a D.C. Circuit ruling invalidating three presidential appointees installed as recess appointments, Bloomberg News reported today. Gary Kurtz, a lawyer representing the Gordon Law Firm of Los Angeles, said that he sent a letter on Jan. 29 to the Bureau asking for a negotiated settlement of the six-month-old case in light of a federal court ruling that declared unconstitutional so-called recess appointments similar to Cordray's. Absent a settlement with Gordon, the Bureau risks a court challenge that could become a test case for its authority in the wake of its recess-appointment ruling. In its July 17 complaint against the firm, the CFPB said that Gordon took up-front fees to help homeowners facing foreclosure, then did "little or nothing" for them. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said last week that the court ruling has no bearing on the CFPB. Read more.
REPORT: 2012 FORECLOSURES UP IN 57 PERCENT OF U.S. METRO AREAS
RealtyTrac reported today that U.S. foreclosure activity last year increased on an annual basis in 57 percent of the nation's metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more, MarketWatch.com reported today. However, foreclosure activity during 2012 decreased from 2010, when foreclosures peaked in most markets, in 85 percent of the 212 markets tracked in the report. The report found that foreclosure activity last year fell in 12 of the U.S.'s 20 largest metropolitan areas, with the biggest declines in Phoenix, San Francisco and Detroit. Despite double-digit percentage decreases in foreclosure activity in 2012 from the prior year, California cities accounted for the four highest metro foreclosure rates, according to the report. Florida cities made up eight of the 20 highest metro foreclosure rates. Read more.
ANALYSIS: POST-LEHMAN, THE PUSH FOR GLOBAL FINANCIAL PROTECTION STALLS
Five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a global push to tighten financial regulation around the world has slowed in the face of a tepid recovery and a tough industry lobbying effort, the Washington Post reported yesterday. Important progress has been made as banks in the United States and Europe have socked away capital to guard against a fresh economic downturn, and evolving rules may force them to split off some of their riskier operations. But the post-Lehman goal -- of a global scheme that would immunize the financial system from another large-scale shock -- remains incomplete. Big banks, insurers and other financial giants remain intact and "too big too fail" by some experts' arguments. Tools to guard against dangerous bubbles in the value of property or other assets are not yet in place, and there is no agreement on how countries should coordinate the failure of a globally important financial company. Implementation of basic banking rules in major nations has fallen behind schedule. Finishing the job "is going to take many years,"
International Monetary Fund chief economist Olivier Blanchard said last week. "It is conceptually very difficult, politically very difficult." Read more.
SENATORS QUESTION U.S. PENALTIES AGAINST WALL STREET BANKS AS TOO SOFT
A bipartisan pair of lawmakers on Tuesday questioned the Justice Department's prosecution of large financial institutions, raising concerns that recent settlements have fallen short of holding Wall Street accountable for wrongdoing, the Washington Post reported yesterday. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asking for a detailed explanation of the department's procedures for going after financial crime. Penalties in settlements have been disproportionately low relative to company profits and the costs imposed on consumers, investors and the market, they said. "The nature of these settlements has fostered concerns that 'too big to fail' Wall Street banks enjoy a favored status, in statute and in enforcement policy," the senators wrote in the letter. Critics say multimillion-dollar fines imposed on megabanks are tantamount to a slap on the wrist as long as no senior executives are behind bars. Prosecutors, however, contend that they must be prudent in doling out justice so as not to cripple institutions whose failure could jeopardize the stability of the financial markets. Read more.
BLOOMBERG'S LATEST "BILL ON BANKRUPTCY” VIDEO: JUNK DEBT INTEREST RATES AT 30-YEAR LOW
Interest rates for junk debt reached a 30-year low in the last week, as Lee Pacchia and Bloomberg News bankruptcy columnist Bill Rochelle discuss on their new video. Click here to watch.
NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER FROM ABI'S BOOKSTORE: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO BANKRUPTCY VALUATION
ABI's latest title, A Practical Guide to Bankruptcy Valuation, helps both practitioners and students navigate the complex task of valuing a bankrupt or other financially distressed business, and provides practical guidance on the selection and application of valuation approaches, methods and procedures. Interspersed with helpful charts and hypothetical examples (some based on real cases), the book describes the generally accepted approaches for valuing the assets and securities of a financially troubled business. Written by Robert F. Reilly of Willamette Management Associates, Inc. (Chicago) and Dr. Israel Shaked of The Michel-Shaked Group (Boston), who have a combined 75 years of experience in the valuation field, A Practical Guide to Bankruptcy Valuation lays a solid foundation for those seeking a better understanding of valuation within the bankruptcy context. Click here to pre-order your copy today!
LAW FIRM BANKRUPTCIES AMONG TOPICS TO BE EXAMINED AT ABI'S 31ST ANNUAL SPRING MEETING
The 2013 Annual Spring Meeting, to be held April 18-21, 2013, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., features a roster of the best national speakers, while the depth and scope of topics offer something for everyone. Specifically, four concurrent workshops will cover various “tracks,” including programs for attorneys in commercial cases, a track for restructuring professionals, a track of professional development programming and a track dealing solely with consumer issues. More than 16 hours of CLE/CPE is offered in some states, along with ethics credit totaling 3 hours, making the cost only about $50 per credit. In addition, committee sessions will drill down on other topics to provide you with the most practical and varied CLE/CPE experience ever. Sessions include:
• 17th Annual Great Debates
• Mediation: An Irrational Approach to a Rational Result
• Creditors’ Committees and the Role of Indenture Trustees and Related Issues
• Current Issues for Financial Advisors in Bankruptcy Cases
• The Individual Conundrum: Chapter 7, 11 or 13?
• The Power to Veto Bankruptcy Sales
• Real Estate Issues in Health Care Restructurings
• How to Be a Successful Expert
• The Ethical Compass: Multiple Ethical Schemes Applicable to Financial Advisors
• Chapter 9s, Nonprofits and Other Nontraditional Restructuring Processes
• And much more!
The Spring Meeting will also feature a field hearing of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, a report from the ABI Ethics Task Force, a luncheon panel discussion moderated by Bill Rochelle of Bloomberg News, and a Final Night Gala Dinner featuring a concert by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts!
ABI LIVE WEBINAR: REVISITING RADLAX AND HALL – NEW LEGAL AND PRACTICAL IMPACT OF THE DECISIONS
See why this was the top-rated panel at the ABI Winter Leadership Conference last month! Join the expert panel on Feb. 19 from 12:00-1:15pm EST as the summarize and discuss the legal impact and practical implications of the Supreme Court’s 2012 decisions in Radlax and Hall. Participants include:
• Susan M. Freeman of Lewis and Roca LLP (Phoenix)
• Adam A. Lewis of Morrison & Foerster LLP (San Francisco)
• Prof. Charles J. Tabb of the University of Illinois College of Law (Champaign, Ill.)
DON'T MISS THE 9TH ANNUAL WHARTON RESTRUCTURING AND DISTRESSED INVESTING CONFERENCE ON FEB. 22!
The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business will be holding the 9th Annual Wharton Restructuring and Distressed Investing Conference on Feb. 22 at the Hyatt at The Bellevue in Philadelphia. The theme of this year's conference is “Health of Nations: Distress, Recovery or Revival?” It will offer a unique opportunity to hear from a distinguished gathering of keynote speakers and panelists in their discussion of the current economic climate and issues of debt, investing, and restructuring across the globe. To register, please click here.
NEW BANKRUPTCY PROFESSIONALS: DON'T MISS THE NUTS AND BOLTS PROGRAM AT ABI'S ANNUAL SPRING MEETING! SPECIAL PRICING IF YOU ARE AN ASM REGISTRANT!
An outstanding faculty of judges and practitioners explains the fundamentals of bankruptcy in a one-day Nuts and Bolts program on April 18 being held in conjunction with ABI's Annual Spring Meeting. Ideal training for junior professionals or those new to this practice area!
The morning session covers concepts all bankruptcy practitioners need to know, and the afternoon session splits into concurrent tracks, focusing on consumer and business issues. The session will include written materials, practice tip sessions with bankruptcy judges, continental breakfast and a reception after the program. Click here to register!
LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: IN RE PORAYKO (7TH CIR.)
Summarized by George Spathis of Horwood Marcus & Berk
A recent ruling by the Seventh Circuit found that a checking account constitutes "personal property" that remains within the "control" of the account's holder, and therefore is subject to a citation lien under Illinois law.
There are more than 750 appellate opinions summarized on Volo, and summaries typically appear within 24 hours of the ruling. Click here regularly to view the latest case summaries on ABI’s Volo website.
NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: WILL THE PAYDAY LOAN BE REINVENTED?
The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. While several tech startups have made short-term credit the focus of their business models, a recent post asks whether such a previously frowned-upon product could ever achieve mainstream acceptance.
Be sure to check the site several times each day; any time a contributing blog posts a new story, a link to the story will appear on the top. If you have a blog that deals with bankruptcy, or know of a good blog that should be part of the Bankruptcy Exchange, please contact the ABI Web team.
ABI Quick Poll
After Stern, bankruptcy courts do not have the constitutional authority to enter final judgments on fraudulent conveyance claims.
Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.
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